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Washed asparagus ready for pickling and a recipe for hot garlic asparagus pickles at lynnecurry.com.

How to Capture a Taste of Spring with Hot Garlic Asparagus Pickles

As a devoted pickler, I bring jars of pickled beets to potlucks, open dilly beans for a weeknight vegetable offering and garnish cheese and cracker plates with pickled carrot sticks.

Homemade pickles are extremely handy and my favorite party trick.

And every year, my pickling season starts with asparagus.

Living so close to Walla Walla, the first thing we see around here besides dandelion greens and overwintered spinach, is thick stalks of Walla Walla asparagus.

No spring is complete without pickling a case (20 pounds) of this perennial favorite.

Hot garlic asparagus pickle recipe and canning instructions at lynnecurry.com.
The canner rack holds 7 quarts of fat asparagus pickles with the tips turned down for easy grabbing.

I mean, asparagus is one of the most easy-going vegetables there is. It’s as simple to roast as it is to grill or toss on a flatbread. But the only way to extend the season is by canning asparagus pickles.

Pickle brine Basics

Using the same brine ratio (equal parts vinegar and water) year in and year out, I have played around with the flavorings–as one can do with pickle recipes.{Unlike other canning recipes, like tomatoes, when you cannot take creative license without compromising food safety.}

And yet, I keep coming back to a winning trio of pickling spice, garlic and crushed red pepper. The garlic and spice work in concert to give these spears just the right amount of heat and savoriness to balance the tartness from the brine.

Hot garlic asparagus pickle recipe and canning instructions at lynnecurry.com.
Feel free to play with the seasonings and flavorings but keep the brine ratio 1:1 vinegar to water.

The other characteristic of these asparagus pickles is that they’re fat. I always buy more asparagus than I intend to can so that I can sort through to find the straightest and thickest stalks for premium asparagus pickles.

Raw pack pickles for Canning or not

This recipe details instructions for raw pack asparagus pickles in a hot water bath canner. I preserve them so that I can store them at room temperature.

It is thrilling to pry open a jar in November and remember these sweet days of spring!

If hot water bath canning is new to you…

  • here are the basic instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
  • here is a great rundown of the whole concept called raw pack {or cold pack} pickles–because you simply stuff jars full of fresh vegetables or fruits–from Food in Jars.
  • and here is my favorite introduction to canning guidebook from Ball, the jar makers.
Hot garlic asparagus pickle recipe and canning instructions at lynnecurry.com.
Once sealed and cooled, canned pickled asparagus is on hand for quick snacks and appetizers.

Asparagus season is winding down, so don’t wait to make asparagus pickles that you’ll be proud to serve on the pickle platter at your 2017 holiday cocktail party.

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Hot garlic asparagus pickle recipe and canning instructions at lynnecurry.com.
5 from 1 vote
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Hot Garlic Asparagus Pickles

This recipe is my all-star asparagus pickle recipe. It involves packing raw, trimmed asparagus into jars, adding spices and garlic and pouring over the hot brine before canning (or not--see Recipe Notes.) You can adjust the seasonings but preserve the brine ratio of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Any less vinegar is unsafe and any more is--in my opinion--super tart. This is an excellent learning recipe for first time picklers.

Course Preserves
Cuisine American
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 7 quarts
Author Lynne

Ingredients

  • 10 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 10 cups water
  • 12-15 pounds fresh asparagus
  • 1 cup canning salt

For each quart jar:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the vinegar, water and salt in a large pot, cover and bring to a simmer.

  2. Fill your boiling water canner 2/3 full with hot water and bring to a boil covered on the stove while you prepare the asparagus. If it comes to a full boil before you're ready, turn down the heat or turn it off. Have 7 jars with lids and rings washed and sterilized.

  3. Wash the asparagus in a sink full of cool water. Trim the woody ends and sort  through the asparagus to find the straightest and the thickest to pickle. (Save the rest for grilled or roasted asparagus with dinner.)

  4. Arrange the asparagus tip end down into sterilized quart jars, trimming more of the stem as necessary to fit with at least 1 inch of head space in the jar. (Reserve these asparagus pieces for stir fry or soup.)

  5. Fill all 7 quart jars with the asparagus, packing tightly. Add the garlic, pickling spice, dill and crushed red pepper to each jar.

  6. When the brine is hot, pour it into the jars and use a chop stick to remove air bubbles. Top off each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top for the required head space. Wipe the rims with a paper towel. 

  7. Put the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Seal the jars with the lids and screw on the rings just finger tight.

  8. Bring the canner back to a boil. Set each jar into the wire rack and place it onto the pot by the handles using hot pads. Slowly lower the rack so that it sits on the bottom and the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water.

  9. Monitor the canner so that it maintains a steady boil for 10 minutes (15 minutes for elevations from 1,000-6,000 feet). Lay a dry dish towel on the counter nearby.

  10. Turn off the heat. Then, lift the rack by the handles and set it on the edge of the pot. Use the jar lifter to remove the jars to the dish towel one at a time. To prevent the rack from tilting, remove jars opposite of one another and the center one last.

  11. Let the jars cool on the countertop until you hear the lids seal with a pop. Once cooled, remove the rings and test the seals. Store in a cool and dry location for up to 1 year, should they last that long.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes 7 quarts (or one full canner load) of asparagus pickles. If you prefer to make refrigerator pickles instead, you can reduce the recipe proportionately. For every quart of pickles, you'll need about 2 pounds of asparagus  to sort through to find the best specimens for pickling and about 2 cups of brine (equal parts water and vinegar). Add the garlic and spices as directed in the recipe. Cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. They pickles are ready to eat in a few days and are optimally flavored in about 2 weeks.

Comments

  1. Robin

    Thanks so much for sharing this incredible recipe. David just picked the asparagus from our garden, so they should be outstanding!

    1. Fresh-picked asparagus sounds like a luxury! Thanks for entrusting me with them.

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